Without conviction and repentance, there’s no love for Jesus

Published 8:10 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: My granddaughter says she loves Jesus, that the Holy Spirit guides her. Her church teaches that God wants people to live abundant lives and forgives indiscretions. She lives with her boyfriend and serves in many capacities in the church. How can I explain she’s living life against Him? – L.I.

Dear L.I.: It’s unimaginable for a Christian to live in disobedience while claiming the Holy Spirit is guiding. Without conviction and repentance, there’s no love for Jesus; Jesus said His Spirit would convict of sin. One of the saddest – and true – statements is when Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven … . Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not … done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21–23, NKJV).

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It isn’t important what people claim to believe, but rather what a person believes and puts into practice. The Bible is the book of two pathways; only one leads to life eternal. People may think they’re on the right road – but going the wrong way.

The famous story of the 1929 Rose Bowl illustrates this. Talented football player Roy Riegels picked up a fumble and ran 64 yards while 70,000 people cheered him on. He was determined to win the game, but he ran the wrong way to a miserable defeat.

What must we do? Say yes to Christ. We must humble ourselves before God. Our intellect, emotions, and will – our total personality – must yield to Christ by faith in Him. Because people are active in church doesn’t mean they’re going the right way. Church membership does not save. When we love Jesus, we will desire to obey His commandments (see 1 John 5:1–2).


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)